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What Does Embark's Autonomous Truck Test Say About the Future of Autonomous Trucks?

Self-driving cars are getting closer and closer to being a regular sight on the consumer and commercial markets, but it's looking less and less likely that the trucking industry the convert straight from human-driven car to AI for every step of the journey. Based on Embark's autonomous trucking test, it's going to be a slower but consistently growing trend.

Where will trucks most likely start driving themselves?

As semi-truck and passenger drivers get used to the incorporation of AI, one of the first public places for autonomous driving will along major highway systems. Not only are these the areas that most strain drivers through highway hypnosis and long-monotonous hours, the protocols are relatively simplistic. Autonomous cars will have a much easier time, and so a higher approval rating, on highways and interstates. This follows the pattern of Embark's autonomous testing, which had a professional driver stand at the ready as trucks handled the highway driving of each 650 miles journey.

The other place where autonomous driving will take hold has already become a bit more commonplace: smaller vehicles, forklifts, and mobile tools at warehouses and cargo yards will use artificial intelligence instead of human drivers.

How will self-driving trucks first be used?

For a long time, the jobs for human drivers won't disappear. Most companies and regulations will foster a system of using autonomous programs while an actively surveying driver is in the driver's seat, ready to countermand the programs and take over. This will address both initial safety concerns -- both about the AI and driver fatigue over long stretches -- and give programs ample opportunity to collect information.  For more semi-truck technology news and forecasts of how each new tool will impact drivers, go to Michigan Truck Sales & Equipment.


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